Will guarantee this trailblazing scientist her place among the stars.

The inspirational story of the first female professional astronomer in the United States.

This engaging account focuses on 19th-century scientist Maria Mitchell’s passion for astronomy, her determination, and her achievements, among them her prizewinning telescopic comet discovery; her work on the Nautical Almanac, essential for navigation; and (after years as a librarian, self-educated in mathematics) her eventual position at Vassar College, where she taught women for more than 20 years—the world’s first female astronomy professor. The concise, clear text provides comprehensible explanations of her successes, though it does leave out some details, such as her family background, her unusual education, her founding of a girls school, and her involvement in the abolitionist movement. The annular eclipse that Maria regrets missing in 1831 at age 12 forms one bookend, deftly recalled near the end, when, missing another in 1885, she observes not a ring of fire but “another powerful ring—a ring of women”: her diligent students. The fine-line illustrations are equally spare but add just-right details, like a maritime chronometer and the book-lined Nantucket Atheneum, where some people of color can be seen. The astronomer’s hard work, delight at confirming her comet discovery, and pleasure in teaching are apparent in her facial expressions and body language. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Will guarantee this trailblazing scientist her place among the stars. (Maria’s rules of astronomical observation, glossary, types of solar eclipses, timeline, selected bibliography) (Picture-book biography. 6-9)

Pub Date: May 2, 2023

ISBN: 9781954354135

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Creston

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2023


From the Over and Under series

More thoughtful, sometimes exhilarating encounters with nature.

In a new entry in the Over and Under series, a paddleboarder glimpses humpback whales leaping, floats over a populous kelp forest, and explores life on a beach and in a tide pool.

In this tale inspired by Messner’s experiences in Monterey Bay in California, a young tan-skinned narrator, along with their light-skinned mom and tan-skinned dad, observes in quiet, lyrical language sights and sounds above and below the sea’s serene surface. Switching perspectives and angles of view and often leaving the family’s red paddleboards just tiny dots bobbing on distant swells, Neal’s broad seascapes depict in precise detail bat stars and anchovies, kelp bass, and sea otters going about their business amid rocky formations and the swaying fronds of kelp…and, further out, graceful moon jellies and—thrillingly—massive whales in open waters beneath gliding pelicans and other shorebirds. After returning to the beach at day’s end to search for shells and to spot anemones and decorator crabs, the child ends with nighttime dreams of stars in the sky meeting stars in the sea. Appended nature notes on kelp and 21 other types of sealife fill in details about patterns and relationships in this rich ecosystem. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

More thoughtful, sometimes exhilarating encounters with nature. (author’s note, further reading) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-79720-347-8

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022


Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses.

An NBA star pays tribute to the influence of his grandfather.

In the same vein as his Long Shot (2009), illustrated by Frank Morrison, this latest from Paul prioritizes values and character: “My granddad Papa Chilly had dreams that came true,” he writes, “so maybe if I listen and watch him, / mine will too.” So it is that the wide-eyed Black child in the simply drawn illustrations rises early to get to the playground hoops before anyone else, watches his elder working hard and respecting others, hears him cheering along with the rest of the family from the stands during games, and recalls in a prose afterword that his grandfather wasn’t one to lecture but taught by example. Paul mentions in both the text and the backmatter that Papa Chilly was the first African American to own a service station in North Carolina (his presumed dream) but not that he was killed in a robbery, which has the effect of keeping the overall tone positive and the instructional content one-dimensional. Figures in the pictures are mostly dark-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-250-81003-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

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